Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Hunger Strike at West Coast’s Largest Detention Center

Protesters support striking detainees. Photo: Tacoma Action Collective
Largely ignored by the mainstream media, hunger strikes are continuing among immigrant detainees at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma, Washington. Outside support for the detainees is being coordinated by a local group, NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC .

Hunger strike resumes at immigration detention center

By Keith Eldridge, KOMO News
April 25th 2017
TACOMA, Wash. -- A hunger strike has resumed with immigration detainees claiming the conditions inside remain deplorable. This comes as demonstrators take their actions to Tacoma City Hall to fight against any possible expansion of the facility.

The hunger strike resumed at noon Tuesday inside the walls of the Northwest Detention Center. The NWDC Resistance group says 40 detainees are refusing to eat to protest what they call a deterioration of the food and health care inside.

About 750 people ended their hunger strike recently after what they considered successful negotiations with GEO, the private company that runs the prison for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But Resistance members said the company went back on its word. NWDC Resistance member, Wendy Pantoja, said "Because they say GEO is lying about the conditions, the food is worse."[…]

Read the full article:

Press Release from NWDC Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC
For Immediate Release:
April 25, 2017
Maru Mora Villalpando, 206-251-6658
Wendy Pantoja, 253-468-5822

Detainees Begin Third Week on Hunger Strike because GEO Lied in Negotiations, Call on City of Tacoma to Address Worsening Conditions

What: Rally and testimony Calling for Revocation of GEO’s license to run NWDC
When: 4 pm Rally, 5:15 City Council Public Hearing
Where: Tacoma Municipal Building; City Council Chambers; 747 Market Street, First Floor; Tacoma, WA 98402

Tacoma, WA – People detained at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) have been hunger striking since April 10 to call attention to worsening nutrition and sanitation conditions. Their unmet demands included properly cleaned laundry, adequate medical care, reasonable commissary prices, raising the $1 per day prison wage, more nutritional cafeteria food, and contact visits "so parents can hug their children." The NWDC, which is located on a Superfund site, is the largest immigrant detention center on the West Coast, caging over 1,500 immigrants while awaiting civil deportation proceedings. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts with The GEO Group, a multinational private prison corporation, to run the facility. The abysmal conditions point to the ongoing danger the NWDC to the public health, safety and welfare of the individuals involved, as well as the community as a whole.

GEO Group representatives promised to improve food to meet basic nutritional standards after the first week on strike. Instead, the food has gotten worse and GEO has retaliated against hunger strikers. They believe that GEO and ICE retaliated against hunger strikers by transferring at least four hunger strikers to NORCOR corrections facility in Oregon. They announce that 40 men will go on hunger strike today, calling on GEO and ICE keep their promises.[...]

Read the full press release:

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